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Mark Hay
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Boy this Google+ thing really is a no-starter, huh?

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Magneto is furious right now.

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Interesting. South Sudan can't prove Sudanese aggression. Ergo from the start it's been reacting in a dispute over Abyei, losing the high ground, becoming a hostile partner acknowledging the dispute, and muddying arbitration over the region. The region being South Sudan's only hope for survival (really), Southern actions will be aggressive and self-defeating as the process of arbitration strings on in Sudan's favor and to the South's detriment.

Meanwhile the porous and weak borders of the South provide a safe haven for rebels and militants in Sudan, allowing the Sudanese to direct scrutiny against the South as a destabilizing regime, when in fact it is just a de facto weak state. Southern independence works as a benefit to Sudan, deflecting scrutiny without real loss.

Now I get why Sudan was so relaxed about the secession of the South.

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Judging the way Ethiopia engages with free speech, ethnic unrest, its neighbors, and its strategy of development and regional influence ... and the distorted lens the Western world views it with ... I sadly have to reach the conclusion that Ethiopia as it is currently governed is one of the bigger impediments to peace, development, and stability in East Africa--a region of great importance for us in the coming decade. We really out to rethink our relationship with that nation.

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This seems to confirm a few things I and a few others have suspected about al-Shabaab for a while: 1. It is recruiting disaffected Western Somali diaspora youths. 2. It is probably being organized by international groups and should no longer be identified as a distinctly Somali organization (e.g. it is not representative of the situation of Somalia in particular, but is rather an element in a broader narrative). 3. It's addresses to Kenya in its Twitter feed strengthen my conviction that al-Shabaab and its Qaeda backers are looking to destabilize Kenya and use a weakened, but not failed, state to set up a stronger forward operating base and a more international identity. They may have tried the same in Uganda but find Kenya an easier target.

The best things to do to react to this: 1. Don't take the bait the Twitter is offering as far as antagonization or excessive coverage. 2. Accept a different definition of al-Shabaab's composition and goals and learn to differentiate its history from its current incarnation and its constituent elements from each other. 3. In Kenya, for the love of all that is good, step down on military actions in Somalia, do not take the bait, and certainly do not let the knowledge of al-Shabaab's aims translate into an exacerbation of an already at times tense situation between Somali communities and the Kenyan majority. That's the worst thing that could possibly happen, especially heading into the next year, which will be crucial for the Somali-Kenyan equation.

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On an Andrew Bird kick. Putting this song on repeat quite a bit.

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Written on behalf of my friend Amin Ghadimi and in solidarity with the Baha'i Community.

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The horned graves of Nokhur, Turkmenistan. Who wants to go visit with me?

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How American Higher Education Fucks Over The World:

http://www.cpreview.org/2011/10/didactic-deceit/

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